Oculus releases updated Rift VR headset

Artwork from StormlandImage copyright
Insomniac Games

Image caption

Games such as Stormland have been designed to work with the Rift S

Oculus has released an updated version of its flagship VR headset that works with a PC to let people play in virtual worlds.

Called the Oculus Rift S, the virtual reality headset does away with the cameras needed on the original and which tracked users’ movements.

The headset has also has higher resolution displays and costs less than the original Rift released in 2016.

Oculus said the headset would go on sale in the USA this spring.

Market movements

Instead of cameras, the Rift S has five built-in sensors that work out how a user is moving and adjust the scene they are seeing. The sensors also scan a user’s surroundings to see how much room they have to move around virtual scenes.

The headset still has to be tethered to a PC to work but Oculus said machines that worked with the original headset should also support the new device.

Any game played on the original Rift should also work on the updated headset, it added.

Oculus said the headset has two LCD displays with a resolution of 1280 x 1440 pixels per eye. This is less than the displays on the rival HTC Vive Pro and HP Reverb headsets.

The Oculus headset is expected to cost about $399 (£303) when it goes on sale. The UK price is likely to be about £300 but no firm figure has yet been given. The original Rift was priced at $599 when it debuted.

Last year Oculus previewed an updated stand-alone headset called the Quest that shares some of the technology found in the Rift S. The Quest is also expected to be released before the summer.

Statistics suggest that Sony’s VR headset has the dominant market share with about 43% of all headsets bought to work with the PlayStation 4 console. Oculus is in second place with a 19% share.